Middlesbrough's Wheater spearheads fans recruitment drive

Middlesbrough defender David Wheater has turned actor in an attempt to lure fans back to the Riverside Stadium.

The 20-year-old local boy is spearheading a recruitment drive as Boro try to fill the stadium once again following Sunday's superb victory over Premier League leaders Arsenal.

In a video message e-mailed to 25,000 current and former supporters, Redcar-born Wheater says: "I know you love the Boro, I know you still care about the team and you know that I do too.

"I have supported them all my life. I am so proud to pull on a shirt and play for this club, and I am not afraid to show it.

"There is still a long way to go this season and some big games.

"I can't wait to take on Manchester United, Liverpool and the rest, to show them what we are capable of.

"And when I have run my guts out for 70 minutes and I am faced with (Steven) Gerrard or (Cristiano) Ronaldo, I know there is nothing better than to get stuck in and to that you are all behind me.

"It gives me the extra push to tear right through them and win the ball.

"You, sitting here in the ground week after week, can make all the difference, the noise, the passion and the atmosphere. I have even saved you a seat.

"I know you want to."

The video is part of a major push to address dwindling attendances at the Riverside, which in turn affect chairman Steve Gibson's ability to back manager Gareth Southgate's attempts to strengthen his squad with hard cash.

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